Friday, July 02, 2010

On my turntable: Styx - Rock Galaxy

This morning as I was foraging through bargain bins at one of my local shops I found this curiosity, a 2LP German STYX collection called Rock Galaxy (1980).  My first thought was that the artwork was way too cheesy for this to be a legit release.
Turns out that back in 1980, RCA International churned out several Rock Galaxy collections of big-name artists such as Jefferson Airplane, Lou Reed, The Scorpions, and (obviously) STYX. Being only $.50 and in very good condition there was no feasible way I could pass on this LP.

Upon getting home I figured out that Rock Galaxy is simply STYX's first two Wooden Nickle albums repackaged with new liner notes that briefly detail the band's story from 1964-1980. What's most interesting about these LPs (for me at least) is experiencing them back-to-back and noticing just how much Dennis DeYoung came forward as a singer and songwriter between the 1st & 2nd LP. On the 1st record DeYoung wrote only 2 tracks (both of them collaborations with James "JY" Young who, along with co-founder Chuck Panozzo, still records and tours with STYX). On the 2nd LP, however, Dennis handled the majority of the songwriting himself (save for 2 tracks penned by then-guitarist John Curulewski).  The result is a noticable shift from the prog-rock sound of the first album to a more accessible pop/rock, 3-4 minute song structure, including both AM and FM radio-friendly songs (including the chart-busting classic, "Lady").
While listening to these albums I had a great appreciation for how many lives STYX has had.  They started out with their big prog-rock debut LP, evolving into one of the hugest arena acts of the late 70's and selling zillions of records before their initial break-up in the mid-80's. With more recent releases like 2003's excellent Cyclorama, STYX has managed to create very contemporary power-pop that holds its own next to the rest of the band's catalog.  STYX continues to prove to fans around the world that they have no intention on retiring to the oldies circuit any time soon. 

Related entries:
Class Project: Chuck Panozzo
quote of the week: Chuck Panozzo
On my turntable: Styx - Crystal Ball
On my turntable: Styx - Pieces of Eight


Jay said...

And you could have seen them live tonight at Target Center with Kansas!

Jeff said...

Dammit - That was tonight????